The views of essentialism and constructivism have been in debate within the literature we have been reading. In “Intrinsic Inclinations: Explaining Gender and Sexual Diversity”, Julia Serano gives us more of a twist on things. She believes that both social constructionists (who believe that we assume the roles of female and males based on what society expects) and gender essentialists (belief that we are born with out female or male traits) are wrong. Or as she puts it, not completely correct.

To pick apart the gender essentialist argument, she presents the fact that not all men are masculine and not all women are feminine and that many children begin to show the “expected” signs of females or males at a young age. People all have different views but each way of thinking has their own kinks to figure out.

Before this class, all I knew about Gender Studies classes is that they focused on something about the difference between sex and gender. I am a straight female and I have never taken the time to stop and observe all of the social constructs that I come into contact with everyday. I have to say that I am guilty for not taking more time to understand how people who are homosexual or trans may view the world completely different from me. This class has opened my eyes to questioning the certain aspects in my life (ex. how people dress, act, react, etc.) which are formed to this constructivism and essenstialism views.

To me, I believe that these two theories go together to develop who people become. The more people understand how different everyone really is when you strip away the aspects that have socially constructed us to be similar, the better we will appreciate and embrace the fact that we are all different human beings in our own unique ways.

Elizabeth Kasbeer

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